April 23rd, 2008


Associated Press

Oregon cop battles 12-foot python to save pet store owner

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — A pet store owner is calling a police sergeant a hero for saving her from the coils of a 12-foot Burmese python doing its best to turn her into a meal.

Teresa Rossiter had reached into a cage Thursday to show the huge snake to a customer when it bit her right hand and coiled around her left arm to throw her to the floor.

A friend who happened to be at the store kept the snake off her neck and body while police were called. And when Sgt. Ryan Nelson rushed into the store, he was ready to kill the snake with his knife.

But Rossiter asked him to spare the expensive python, so Nelson put on gloves and pried open the snake’s mouth to free Rossiter’s hand.

Two responders from the Eugene Fire Department helped unwrap the snake, which was eventually returned to its cage.

Rossiter called Nelson a hero.

“He was the bravest guy ever. He went way above and beyond the call of duty,” she told The Oregonian.

Rossiter suffered dozens of puncture wounds, but she, the sergeant and the python were fine.

Man Bitten by Coral Snake Walks into Hospital

Halo Flight transports man from Beeville to Corpus Christi


staff reports
Originally published 08:37 a.m., April 21, 2008
Updated 08:37 a.m., April 21, 2008BEEVILLE — A 24-year-old man walked into the Christus Spohn Hospital in Beeville around 10 p.m. Sunday night with a venomous coral snake bite.

The man was transported by Halo Flight to Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial about 11 p.m. in serious condition. No update on his condition was available Monday morning.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, about 7,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the U.S. each year and 1 out of 500 result in death. On average, 1 to 2 people in Texas die each year from venomous snake bites.

Coral snakes are one of two types of venomous snakes found in Texas, the other is pit vipers (copperhead, cottonmouth and rattlesnake). Coral snakes are Elapids, snakes that have short, permanently erect fangs located along each side of the upper jaw. They have red, yellow and black color bands on their body. The bite is generally very painful.
Where Have All The Snake Handlers Gone?

The Depression came late and stayed long in rural America. A curious ritual became popular during this time in certain Holiness and Pentecostal churches: snake handling.

George Hensley, a former Tennessee moonshiner, became the father of this movement. While walking through the woods in 1910, he encountered a poisonous snake. Picking it up, he marvelled that he was not harmed just as the Bible promised(Mark 16:18). Hensley would go on to introduce this practice in Appalachian churches and its popularity grew rapidly as a test of a person’s faith.

Snake handling is not without danger. “There are over 100 documented deaths from serpent bites,” says Ralph Hood, professor of social psychology at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. “In every tradition, people are bitten and maimed by them. They risk their lives all the time by handling them. If you go to any serpent-handling church, you’ll see people with atrophied hands, and missing fingers. All the serpent-handling families have suffered such things.”

How do adherents view a person being bitten by a snake? A variety of explanations are offered from the presence of hidden sin in the person’s life to a lack of faith or anointing of the Spirit.

Hensley’s death from a snakebite in 1955 combined with many states passing laws against the practice witnessed the decline of snake handling. Today, only a few dozen churches still engage in this ritual.

Modern Pentecostals explain Christ’s words on taking up snakes without harm by pointing to the Apostle Paul’s experience of being bitten by a viper but not harmed (Acts 28:1-5). In other words, the sense is the accidental taking up of serpents, not the intentional.

Desperate times create special fervor in religious circles. Should such times ever return again, the practice of snake handling will hopefully retain its near-extinct status.

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